Sen. Gillibrand s proposal more toxic than the chemicals she warns of

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In yesterday s Huffington Post, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) writes how she was shocked to learn that regulators have been prevented from testing all of the 70,000 chemicals found in everyday home products. And, earlier this week, mothers across the country took to the streets to get the message out about everyday household cleaning and baby products with chemicals inside them, CBS News reported. The problem is, these concerned protesters are woefully uninformed on the topic and thus, are quite unrealistic about their demands.

Sen. Gillibrand, for instance, is calling for reform of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TCSA) in large part because only five of [those 70,000 chemicals] have been regulated; she blames these toxic chemicals for a litany of childhood ailments that she says are on the rise. Yet as ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross points out, the fact that so few of those chemicals have actually been found to be toxic underscores the lack of any need for reform. To both Gillibrand and the mothers who took to the streets, Dr. Ross explains, The presence of chemicals does not make for toxicity; chemicals are just not inherently toxic. And as for the ailments that these misguided activists feel certain are linked to the everyday products they use, Dr. Ross points out that children s cancer rates are actually stable or rising imperceptibly not to mention that increased awareness of developmental disorders, such as autism and attention deficit disorder, is, in all likelihood, related to increased diagnosis. As it happens, ACSH s forthcoming review of the National Resources Defense Council s allegations of 43 chemical-related disease clusters found that just two of these claims, at most, have any basis in reality. And as for testing all 70,000 chemicals for safety? This is not possible in our lifetimes, says Dr. Ross. And if we were to ban these chemicals then what? What incontrovertibly safe substitutes are there?

In truth, if this misguided legislation becomes law, continues Dr. Ross, it will benefit no one and be only an expensive drain on businesses around the nation. Scaring parents with such scientifically unfounded agitation exploits their legitimate concern for their children s health, he observes. Instead of becoming caught up in these alarmist tactics, it s much wiser for parents to make sure their kids are vaccinated, eat a well-balanced diet, get regular exercise, and wear seat belts and bike helmets. Those, he says, are much more valid concerns.